900 employees from Aibel make Snøhvit more robust

In the course of the next month Aibel will perform 100,000 hours of work in connection with a shutdown that will improve the stability of the Snøhvit facility at Melkøya near Hammerfest.

Snøhvit stans
More than 900 employees from Aibel will in the course of the next month spend 100,000 hours on maintenance and upgrades of the Snøhvit facility at Melkøya near Hammerfest. Photo: Aibel.

“The keyword is improvement. The goal of Statoil with all the projects in this shutdown is a more robust and stable plant,” says plant manager and Aibel's location manager in Hammerfest, Jan Eirik Karlsen.

Diverse upgrade projects

The closure of the facility started on 2 May, and a large number of Aibel's people are now in place to carry out maintenance and upgrades that are impossible when the facility is in production.

“Among the tasks are the replacement of more than 200 valves, replacement of filter media, inspections and assistance to the German equipment supplier Linde, who will replace fittings in tanks and process columns. In addition there are all the planned maintenance projects, as well as statutory modifications and modifications to the Snøhvit Improvement Project 2,” says shutdown coordinator Finn Engeness.

Qualified labour

The numerous projects mean that Aibel as of 9 May and a couple of weeks forward have around 420 operators at the facility day and night combined. After that, reductions will take place until the end of the shutdown in June. A total of more than 900 operators will be mobilised for Aibel during the shutdown.

“The scope and the relatively short time places great demands on our capacity to mobilise the sufficient number of people with the right qualifications. For that reason we have contracted 130 associates from Aibel Denmark,” says the shutdown coordinator.

Focus on HSE

With so many people and projects at work on the facility at once, the risk of injuries and incidents increases. A particular challenge with this shutdown is extensive activity in a limited area, for example on the actual barge “Bargen”, which is among the main areas at Melkøya. This makes HSE work more important than ever.

“The safety of our employees and others at the facility always has the highest priority. This is the reason HSE has been the main focus of the planning. We are particularly aware of falling objects. This should ensure that we complete the shutdown without serious incidents and injuries,” Finn Engeness explains.

Snøhvit stans HMS
HSE inspectors Tina Lerøy and Nils Mathisen are taking part to ensure that safety is taken care of and has the highest priority during the shutdown. Photo: Aibel.

Experience gives confidence in success

The shutdown is the third shutdown in connection with Aibel's M&M framework agreement with Statoil for the Snøhvit plant, which was awarded in 2005.

“Our day to day operations at the plant and the two previous shutdowns in 2009 and 2011, have given us good experience that we have used in the preparations. In that process we have also had good use of our expertise and capacity in Haugesund and Singapore. This gives us great confidence that we can successfully complete the tasks,” says Jan Eirik Karlsen.

The contract for the plant has been among the direct reasons for Aibel's office in Hammerfest, which along with the one in Harstad ensures Aibel a strong presence in northern Norway.